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Dalles de verre

The dalle de verre technique was particularly important in post-war architecture because it was closely linked to the development of concrete architecture. It was considered to be an alternative to leaded lights and a means to transcend traditional stained glass techniques. In Switzerland, the pioneer Alexandre Cingria was one of the first of several stained glass artists to create windows using the dalle de verre technique. The heyday of this monumental art form was between the 1950s and 1980s, but earlier approaches to the technique, such the Steinsprossenfenster (stained glass windows with window bars made of reinforced cement) by Richard Nüscheler, also deserve attention.
However, after around 50 years many of these windows are in a very poor condition. Physical and chemical interactions between reinforced concrete and glass and the often exposed architectural setting pose a special challenge for the conservation of dalle de verre windows and make specific approaches to their preservation necessary. Structural-physical factors also play an important role. In selected case studies, we investigate preservation conditions and causes of deterioration and develop appropriate conservation concepts in close collaboration with European research partners.

Selected case studies

  • Parish church St. Maria at St. Gallen-Neudorf (SG). 'Steinsprossenfenster' by Richard Nüscheler created in 1916/17.
  • Church "Les Cordeliers" at Fribourg (FR). Dalle de verre by Alexandre Cingria created in 1938.
  • Parish church at Courfaivre (JU). Dalle de verre by Fernand Léger created in 1953/54.
  • Reformed church at Delémont (JU). Dalle de verre by Bodjol created in 1959.

Partners

  • University of Antwerp, Conservation Studies, Belgium
  • Laboratoire de Recherche des Monuments Historiques, Champs-sur-Marne, France
  • University of York, United Kingdom
  • Bundesamt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, Bauwerkssicherheit, Berlin, Germany
  • Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed, Amersfoort, The Netherlands
Vitrocentre Romont – Au Château – P.O. Box 150 – CH-1680 Romont – Phone +41 (0)26 652 10 95 – Fax +41 (0)26 652 49 17 – cr:vasb:ivgebprager.pu